Thirty years ago, many believed this car would be the last American convertible. It wasn’t, but it did mark the end of the line for that uniquely American concept: the full-sized open car. This is the history of the 1971-1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
FROM OPEN TO CLOSED
In the primordial days of the automobile, few cars offered much protection from the elements. A full roof, glass windows, and proper weather-sealing were expensive and heavy, making them impractical for all but the stateliest of formal cars. It was not until the 1920s that closed bodies became cheap enough to enable them to surpass the sales of their open counterparts. Even after designers became acquainted with the science of streamlining, there were many who insisted any true sports car had to be a roadster, and until well into the 1950s, high-performance cars were more likely to be open than closed.
The association of open cars with competition and fresh air lent a racy aura to even mundane convertibles. A ragtop Plymouth might be no faster than a club coupe (perhaps even less, thanks to the extra weight of structural reinforcement), but it was sporty in a way no coupe or sedan ever was. By the end of the 1920s, open cars accounted for barely 10% of the market, but nearly every make offered at least one, frequently as their highest priced image leader.
THE CADILLAC ELDORADO CONVERTIBLE
A case in point was the first Cadillac Eldorado, introduced in 1953. It was essentially a factory custom job with distinctive styling and a sobering $7,750 price tag, nearly twice that of a basic Series 62 sedan. The Eldorado was, naturally, a convertible and although the name subsequently was applied to both hardtop coupes and sedans, the Eldorado convertible remained Cadillac’s most prestigious and expensive model (barring the Series 75 limousines) through 1966.
The 1967 Eldorado was a significant departure in a number of ways. Somewhat smaller than a standard Cadillac, the new Eldo shared the E-body shell of the contemporary Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado and borrowed the Toronado’s unusual front-wheel-drive layout. One of the sharpest designs of styling chief Bill Mitchell’s reign at GM, the FWD Eldorado had crisp, knife-edged lines, but it was available only as a two-door hardtop coupe, the first time since 1953 that there had been no Eldorado convertible.
That omission was corrected when the Eldorado’s second generation bowed for 1971. Developed by Wayne Kady’s Cadillac Advanced studio, the new convertible Eldorado had a base price of $7,751, only a dollar more than the original 1953 model, but a significant $368 more than the 1971 Eldorado hardtop. The ragtop Eldorado was now Cadillac’s only open model. The cheaper Series 62 convertible had been dropped after 1963; the Calais, which replaced the Series 62 as Cadillac’s entry-level series for 1965, was never offered in convertible form, while the convertible De Ville disappeared after 1970, a victim of fading demand.
Convertible sales were evaporating across the industry. Postwar GT cars and the rise of the muscle car era had shifted buyer perceptions of speed and sport from roadsters to closed coupes. Drag racers knew a ragtop meant a heavier frame and a willowy body, neither of which was desirable for flat-out running. Drivers less concerned with racing for pink slips, meanwhile, were increasingly tempted by air conditioning and automated climate control. Worse, there was a new range of federal safety legislation on the horizon, including a new roof crush standard that would essentially outlaw open cars. (Chrysler successfully challenged the latter in federal court.) If Americans weren’t buying them anyway, automakers concluded, why bother?
American Motors dropped out first, offering their last convertible for 1968. Ford and Chrysler were next, dumping all their ragtops except for the pony car lines after 1969; the droptop Plymouth Barracuda and Dodge Challenger would die after 1971, the Ford Mustang convertible two years later. GM offered no convertible versions of its redesigned 1970 Camaro and Firebird, nor of the restyled intermediates introduced in 1973. Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac fielded their last big convertibles in 1975. By 1976, the Eldorado was the last survivor, along with a small handful of imports like the Alfa Romeo Spider.
THE 1976 ELDORADO
The term “land yacht” might well have been coined for this last American convertible. Although the 1971 Eldorado was actually only 0.6 inches (15 mm) longer than the 1970 model, the wheelbase had been stretched 6.3 inches (160 mm), bringing overall length to 221.6 inches (5,629 mm). Curb weight was up about 75 pounds (34 kg), and an Eldorado ragtop now tipped the scales at a full two and a half tons (2,270 kg). After the addition of 5 mph (8 km/h) bumpers (in front for 1973, in back for 1974), the Eldorado grew to 224.1 inches (5,692 mm) and swelled to around 5,400 pounds (2,450 kg) at the curb.
Like its predecessor — and the contemporary Oldsmobile Toronado — the Cadillac Eldorado used front-wheel drive, but its configuration was quite a bit different than the pioneering BMC Mini. Whereas the Mini turned its engine sideways with the transaxle mounted in the sump, the Eldorado and Toronado used longitudinally mounted V8 engines. The torque converter of a highly modified Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was mounted on the back of the engine, as with a rear-drive car, but the gearbox itself was mounted next to the torque converter, driven by a chain. The gearbox output shaft pointed forward, sending power to a slim planetary differential and then via CV-jointed half-shafts to the front wheels. This unusual arrangement was remarkably compact and it allowed the Eldo and Toronado to share many components with Cadillac and Oldsmobile’s rear-drive cars. (It also effectively eliminated torque steer, an impressive feat given the torquey V8 engines.)
The Eldorado’s front suspension was by torsion bars, while the rear was a beam axle on coil springs, located by trailing links; first-generation Eldos had used single leaf springs with both vertical and horizontal shock absorbers. Rear load-leveling air springs were now a standard feature.
While the spring rates and shocks on the original 1967 Eldorado had been firm by Cadillac standards, allowing fairly sporty handling, the second-generation car sacrificed that firmness for a smooth ride. Indeed, the 1971-1976 Cadillac Eldorado rode like a cloud on clean pavement, but bobbed and rolled on rough surfaces and any hasty change of direction was marked by plowing and squealing tires. Stopping was not a strong point, either. Front disc brakes were standard, and for an extra $211 you could order Cadillac’s “Trackmaster” rear anti-lock braking system, but stopping distances were mediocre and the brakes faded badly even in normal driving. Four-wheel discs, added for 1976, helped somewhat, although the Track Master system was quietly dropped.
Under the long hood was an appropriately gargantuan engine: 8.2 liters (actually 8,194 cc), a full 500 cubic inches. Until quite recently, this held the distinction of being the biggest engine ever offered in a postwar production car.
When the 500 cu. in. version debuted in the 1970 Eldorado, it was rated at a whopping 400 horsepower (298 kW) and 550 lb-ft (745 N-m) of torque, although a drop in compression ratio for 1971 cut the big engine’s output to 365 hp (272 kW) and 535 lb-ft (725 N-m). Alas, these were SAE gross numbers and when Cadillac switched to the SAE net system the following year, the big engine’s rated power tumbled to 235 hp (175 kW) and 385 lb-ft (521 N-m), although it was actually unchanged.
Over the next few years, emissions controls would cut its output to a meager 190 hp (142 kW), absurd for such a large engine. Starting in 1975, buyers could — for a hefty $647 premium — order their Eldorado with Bendix fuel injection instead of a carburetor, boosting the big V8 to 215 hp (160 kW) and a whopping 400 lb-ft (542 N-m) of torque. Motor Trend‘s July 1975 test of a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado coupe with the 190-horsepower engine took 10.9 seconds to reach 60 mph (97 km/h), adequate but not impressive. As for gas mileage, a heavy right foot in traffic could easily drop it below 10 mpg (23.5 L/100 km), although a minor consolation was that the engine no longer required premium fuel.
Despite the thirst and a 1973 OPEC oil embargo that led to widespread gasoline shortages, Cadillac managed to move more than 40,000 Eldorados a year through most of the seventies, excellent for such an expensive car. The convertible almost never accounted for more than about a quarter of production, but when Cadillac announced that the 1976 convertible would be the last, sales surged, eventually reaching 14,000 units.
The last 2,000 1976 Eldorado convertibles built were marketed as limited editions, while the final 200 were special “Bicentennial Editions,” painted white with red and blue pin-striping. With all convertibles fast disappearing, there was a burst of speculator frenzy that briefly pushed selling prices well above the $12,000 MSRP.
The second-generation FWD Eldorado soldiered on until 1978, losing the big engine in favor of a new 425 cu. in. (6,970 cc) V8. The Eldorado was redesigned and downsized for 1979, losing more than half a ton of weight in the process, but the convertible did not return — at least at first.
As it happened, the 1976 Eldorado was not the end of the road for the convertible after all. When Lee Iaccoca joined Chrysler in 1979, he discovered that the rollover standards Detroit had feared had actually been rescinded without going into effect, enabling Chrysler to reintroduce convertible models with great fanfare in 1982.
In 1984, Cadillac offered a new Eldorado convertible, built by an outside contractor and carrying an eye-opening $31,286 sticker price. Aside from dismaying collectors who’d though their ’76s would really be the last, the revived Eldorado ragtop didn’t sell very well and it was dropped after 1985.
Convertibles have become more sophisticated now, with the current trend to elaborate power-operated hardtops, but the appetite for open air never really went away. Big ragtop land yachts like the Eldorado convertible, however, seem to be gone for good, relics of an era we’re not likely to see again.
NOTES ON SOURCES
Our sources for this article included the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, Encyclopedia of American Cars: Over 65 Years of Automotive History (Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, 1996); John Barach’s Cadillac History website, Motor Era, June 2002, www.motorera. com/ cadillac/index.htm, accessed 2 April 2007; David Knowles, MG: The Untold Story (Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1997); “Cadillac Eldorado – Bicentennial Edition,” www.bicentennialeldorado.com, accessed 10 August 2010; 49 CFR § 571.216a (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216a; Roof crush resistance); John Gunnell, ed., Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, rev. 4th ed. (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2002); and John Lamm, “King of the Hill: Eldo-Mark III Revisited,” Motor Trend July 1971, “King of the Hill: Cadillac Eldorado vs. Lincoln Continental Mark IV,” Motor Trend July 1972, and “The King of the Hill: Mark IV vs. Eldorado,”Motor Trend August 1973; “Top Luxury for Pennies…” Road Test May 1972; Eric Dahlquist, “Cadillac Eldorado: The King, Revisited,” Motor Trend October 1972; and John Lamm and Jim Brokaw, “The King’s Ransom Road Test,” Motor Trend July 1975, all of which are reprinted in Cadillac Eldorado Performance Portfolio 1967-1978, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 2000).
44 CommentsAdd a Comment
Loved this article. I was searching for something on the site for the 1976 Eldo, which is one of my favorite cars (especially convertibles, of the period. Love to see them at parades, etc. I always thought if I had unlimited $$ I’d like to replace the dog 500-inch “motor” with a hi-comp 454 with modern FI and update the slushbox with a modern box with a lockup torque converter and OD. Probably increase the fuel mileage up to double-digits! Woo-hoo! No idea if that could be done but with enough $$ almost anything can be done, right? I think I saw at a car show somewhere that the last of these ragtops was made on my 21st b-day, 4-21-76, so I figured it was a sign that I ought to own one! Now I need a bigger garage and bank account, too!
“dog 500 CI motor”? That motor is far from a dog. It was a very high nickle content casting, and believe it or not, it’s only 60 pounds heavier than a Chevy 350 block. The engine sat higher due to the FWD components and Caddy has to shallow out the intake, cutting some HP. Anybody that knows the 472/500 series will tell you…these things were all about torque (The fastest land vehicle in the world uses a 1972 Eldorado 500 engine, check it out). No offense to the popular 454, but it’s not in the same league…the 500 is lighter AND smaller than a BBC. $ for $ and pound for pound, the 500 will tear up the tires than the 454 could ever hope. It had the problem of being stuck in 4500-5500 pound cars rather than in a Corvette, so it was essentially a sleeper in rodder’s eyes til around year 2000. But the intense quality was there. Toss an aftermarket Edelbrock intake and a set of of headers and cheaply get more hp/torque than you know what to do with. :) Note: The 500CI is not meant to rev up above 5500RPM. Power curve is all lower and mid range.
Pat, you obviously know nothing about the engine or transmission.
The 500 is certainly no dog, it was more the government mandated changes. The optional EFI was multi-port, and modern digitaly controlled sequential multi-port fuel injection is easily doable now.
500HP is no sweat and 600+ not real hard to get to with a carb. With EFI you can tweak the efficiency some. Still double digit MPG in town is easily obtained (unless you race light to light), and on the open road, 16-17MPG.
No engine transmission change will readily improve that either. It’s a function of the size/weight of the car and aerodynamics.
As to the transmission, internally it’s a THM-400, one of the best and longest lived automatic transmissions ever. It was soft and smooth because it was a Cadillac. It can readily be tweaked with a shift kit to get firmer shifts at higher RPM levels.
I have a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
I am wondering how many was build Cotillion White, red interior, red vinyl rag top.
I felt the need to correct you slightly. Ford offered a fullsize convertible up to the 1972 Galaxie/LTD.
And Chrysler continued with B- and C-body convertibles through 1970.
From an enthusiast’s standpoint, the last of the giganto-Caddies are pretty woeful cars – wasteful in every way, and the epitome of “good enough” engineering and design.
But as a European, I think their end stands symbolic for the end of a very American idea that I’ve always liked: no matter who your are, you can have what the rich have, more or less. Sure, you might not be able to afford an Eldorado, but the slightly used Calais you’ve spent three years saving up for isn’t less in any significant way – the engine might be less powerful, but not noticeably so. The ride is just as pillow-soft, the bench seats just as huge and the wood just as fake.
A contemporary Mercedes is a much better car by nearly any objective standard. But the no-content, 4-cylinder Mercedes that the middle-class employee could maybe, one day, afford was a pale imitation of the V8 techno-luxury-marvel the members of the board would have bought. The class distinction was much greater.
The 70s era of cheap superficiality and throwaway consumption is held in little regard by most Americans today (the ones I know anyway), but in my eyes it’s the the last time the USA as a nation payed even lip service to class equality. Not by giving everyone the same economic opportunities, that is basically impossible anyway. But by making the signifiers of wealth and class cheap and hollow enough that they could be attained even by those who didn’t make it to the top.
A consolation prize, if you will – which is better than nothing at all.
Does anyone know if the Biaritz package was available on the 76 Eldorado Convertible or was this package only for the late-year 76 coupes?
As best I can see, the Biarritz was introduced after the convertible was defunct and was only for hardtops, but somebody else may have a more authoritative answer.
Yes! I owned a Baby Blue 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Biritz with the Moon Roof Package. There was NOTHING that compared to the Super Puffed Soft Button Tuffed Padded Leather Seats. The Superious suspension provided a TRUE GLIDE RIDE. Elegant in EVERY ASPECT. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AUTOMOBILE!
A little over a year ago (July 2019) I purchased a 76 Eldorado Convertible with 960 miles (verified) on it. I thought I got a “new” car. It had been purchased with two others, by a person in Houston, TX, who owned an oil company. He sold the other two, and kept mine. The last time it was registered was August 1979, and it spent at least 40 years in his garage. I bought it, sight unseen. I thought I had a really nice vehicle. Well, guess what, the poor car had deteriorated in many ways. The cosmetics were like new, since it never saw any sun. But, mechanically, it had (and has) many problems. I keep an excel spread sheet on the problems, and I am on problem 94 right now. It is almost finished, I think, but there are still a few lingering problems. Was it worth it? I am not sure. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought an well kept 76 with about 15K to 25K miles. And, I would have checked it out and asked about the maintenance performed. Anyway, a little over a year later, it is a beautiful representation of a 76 and I am very proud of it. I will NEVER get the amount of money I have in it, back on a sale. But, when you hear someone say that they are “investing” in classic cars, the guy is probably not telling the entire truth. There is probably more emotion than profits in his mind.
I started to work at a Cadillac Oldsmobile dealership in 1976, became the parts manager in 1977. I Drove many Eldorado Biarritz and a few were convertible’s. Sitting on the thick padded White leather seats was like sitting on a Marshmallow. They were extremely fast if they had the 500 CI engine with the timed 2 phased port injection by (Bendix) and they were very comfortable, A few times I toke them over 120 MPH too! Then GM downsized them, they were never the same.
Thank Aaron. That was my conclusion too but I recently saw a 76 Conv with the Biaritz name on the dash. I am inclined to think it was placed there later in the car’s life and is not true.
It’s possible. I wasn’t able to figure out exactly when the Biarritz option was added except “late” — the last convertibles were built in April 1976, so it’s conceivable there was some overlap. On the other hand, the last convertibles mostly ended up not being quite as collectible as people thought, so it’s also not inconceivable that someone just liked the Biarritz trim and added it after the fact.
I have one 76 eldorado Biarritz , it was told to that it was crazy
at the end of the run and before the last 200 , Big shots were puting
everything they could find on them, tring to get one and if is was different the better, record’s don’t show any. The workers called them VIP Special, I dont know but its sounds like could happen!
It does seem plausible. It should be said, though, that a great many Eldorados of that era were sold pretty fully equipped. Obviously, there were always exceptions, particularly for special orders, but an Eldorado wasn’t like, say, a Chevelle, where there would be some very sparsely equipped cars for fleet customers and dealer price-leaders. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the Eldorado was popular enough to sell for list price or close to it, so I imagine dealers would tend to order them with a full complement of profit-boosting options!
If a person chose to change their wood like dash board with on with the Biarritz script on it as I have, that could be the difference.
If a person chose to change their wood like dash board with one that had the Biarritz script logo on it as I have, that could be the difference.
where is the best place to get seat cover for my 1976 convertible Eldorado convertible.
I can’t help with parts, repairs, or restoration — sorry!
Hi all. I have a 1976 Eldorado shipped to Dubai. I need a bit of help with regards to the car. It’s being resprayed as the earlier job was sadly poor. The boys tell me, that the hood hinge springs are different left and right sides. Is that so? Any idea.? Best wishes. H
Like I keep telling folks, I’m not able to provide that kind of detailed restoration advice — I really don’t know! Your best bet would probably be to consult a shop manual (in the U.S., a public library might have one; I don’t know about other countries) or to contact either a vendor that sells parts for these cars or a restoration shop that deals with vintage Cadillacs. Sorry!
The hood hinges are specific to right side and left. The car is incredible, for some reason that part of the engineering was a bit challenging. From what I understand the overload of the springs are easily corrected by adjusting the rear of the bracket upwards and the front of the bracket downwards , looking at the car from the front. I recently bought refurbished hood hinges and looking forward to realigning the hood. It makes it very challenging to open and more so close the hood. Work in progress to be continued.
On the tired ’74 Fleetwood I had in the 80’s, you had to push the hood down at the cowl first before slamming the front. Otherwise, the back would stick up several inches. The inside latch had to be held out while opening it.
I just picked up a 76 Eldo convertible from my 78 year old uncle who just couldn’t drive it anymore. he wanted to sell it but I told him it needed to stay in our family so I bought it. I was wondering what are some of the best ways to get some more power out of that killer 500big block? on a budget. I know I want to put on a dual exhaust so it has a little bit of a rumble. I kind of want to hot rod it out but still a sleeper. any ideas are welcomed.
I can’t advise you on repairing or modifying engines, sorry! (I’m really not qualified for that…)
Do not modify in that manner, try fuel injection by a professional.
ik wil weten wat het gewicht is van een cadillac eldorado convertible ,en hoeveel KW de motor is, en uitlaat emissie ,bouwjaar 1973
hallo , ik zou graag willen weten of u mijn kan helpen , Ik zoek het Gewicht ,
KW van de motor , Uitlaat emissie , en hoeveel cc Een Cadillec eldorado convertible uit 1973 heeft .U zou mijn daar heel er mee helpen groetend H van Oosterhout
I don’t claim to speak Dutch, but if you’re asking about the engine specifications of a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, the engine’s metric displacement was 8,194 cc (109.2 x 109.3 mm) and the factory power output was 235 hp (SAE net), which is equivalent to approximately 175.2 kW. Torque output was 385 lb-ft, or about 523 N-m. I hope that’s of some help.
Not sure how this site popped up via google but interesting to read. Thanks to the author. I bought a 76 Eldo on a spur of the moment crazy idea as I thought it was cheap and only needed a new top. Great pictures made it look almost new. Paid $7500 plus shipping from NH to FL. I figured to add the top and sell it. Yeah sure! Battery was dead upon arrival and I had to call a neighbor with long jumper cords to get it off the truck. It’s a long story but I’ve put about $12 grand into it since. So don’t buy bargains. Anyway, it
s still in a mechanics shop to go over all the electrical and engine stuff. Something keeps draining the battery and the engine idles rather rough but with new seats and roof and an excellent paint job after lots and lots of metal was cut out because of rust including holes in the floor, it now looks like a brand new car that I don’t want to sell. I’ve joined the Cadillac Club and look forward to driving the car around Naples. I feel like I saved a car from the junk yard as folks don’t normally spend more to fix a car than it is worth. Next time around I’ll be more careful though.
I bought a “barnfind” 76 Eldorado Convertible last July from a guy in the Boston area who was selling it at a really high price, because it had 950 miles on the odometer, documented. I bought it from him off of Ebay for a fortune (I won’t tell you the amount because you would call me names) because he said it was just about perfect. The pictures of it on Ebay looked good and I took his word that it was in almost perfect condition. When it arrived, I opened the hood, and the first thing I saw was the heater core was bypassed. The air did not work, the 4 throat horn was down to 1 horn, many of the lights were out, and on and on and on. I am keeping a spread sheet on each thing I have to do to it, and I am at #74 problems. The only good thing about it is the interior looks like a 1000 mile car. It sat in a garage in Houston for 40 years before he got it, and I got it about 3 months later. When he sent me the title, there were 4 dealers who had owned it and not registered the title. I guess I played musical chairs and I got the last chair that had a leg off. Anyway, it now looks beautiful and only needs a new top and a/c repaired. At least the controller is functioning OK, so the air will be costly but fixable. My advice to anyone buying a”barnfind” that was stored for 40 years is NOT a new car. My mistake but the engine/transmission have had no problems and the car runs like a new car. I am new to this blog, so I hope I haven’t broke any diction rules or tried to offend anyone. The car was meant to be in the Fourth of July parade this year, I guess it will be cancelled. I’m 73 and I can only hope I can last to the next parade. Thanks for reading. I have been wanting to get that off of my chest for a long time.
In my opinion, the Eldorado is still underappreciated for the era. I agree that is was a wallowly boat at times, and reekend of 1970’s excess. But what did the Eldo do historically? Largest engine ever in a passenger car. It was part of the groundbreaking front wheel drive push at GM in 1966-67, but did it BETTER than Oldsmobile. (Read the reviews of the day, the Eldo was much better mannered in 1967 than the 1966 Toro). That translates a lot into today’s world. The Eldo / Toro were the first cars with FWD and Anti-Lock brake systems (Trackmaster) which actually worked quite well in a 5000lb car. The 1975 Eldorado started the availability of electronic fuel injection from GM…..and in 1976 The Eldorado added 4 wheel disc brakes with freaking HYDRO-BOOST. HEY! A car in 1976 with most of the features we value today? What about all of the other elements that Caddy premiered? From lighted vanity visors (1971), Air bags (1974) illuminated door handles (1975), power reclining split seats, rectangular headlights, etc etc..Where are all of these features today? In the cars you drive….and Cadillac was right there bringing them to you in the 1971-78 Eldorado era. All of this added together really made the Eldo a progressive car, despite the persona of a luxury whalemobile. Besides that….no other full size car captures the essence of the era when “old skool GM’ thinking was about today, and downsized sanity was taking over. I’ll take my two Eldorado convertibles (with 500 ft-lbs of torque) any day over a boring Caprice, LTD or New Yorker. :-O Great article and website, by the way…I plan on doing a lot of reading here.
I meant “old skool GM thinking was about to DIE”….LOL
What is the original white wall width on the 76 Eldorado convertible. I am putting new tires on but no one knows , even Coker tires . I believe they were 2 inches. Can anyone help. Thanks Ray
I’m afraid I don’t know — that’s unfortunately not a detail typically found in specification lists.
I have repeatedly read that the whitewall width on the 1976 Eldo is 1.6 inches. I believe I have one original tire of that width. Coker has or had that width. I am going with the 1.5’s made by Vogue (Classic White). I believe the Coker tires are show tires that have used the original specs. Good Luck!
I’m restoring a 71 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. My question is does the interior of a 76 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible fix my 71?
I’m not a restoration professional, so I really can’t advise anyone on stuff like that — I really don’t know!
If you’re going to the extent of restoring a car, I strongly recommend seeking out the factory service manuals, and in particular the body repair manuals. You might consider getting ones for both the actual year of your car (1971) and a later year (1976, probably) to consult the summary of changes. Even that may not authoritatively answer all your questions. Many cars undergo various running changes that aren’t always well-reflected in the factory literature and parts that superficially appear identical may not actually be interchangeable.
This week I may be pulling the trigger on a triple white 1973 Eldorado convertible with 76K original miles and a black dash, carpeting and steering wheel. It is an original numbers matching survivor with laser straight body panels and an original paint finish that would rival some restorations and the white leather is in amazing condition. It is a California car with absolutely no rust on the body or the undercarriage. I originally set out to buy a 1968 DeVille convertible, my all time favorite Caddy convertible, but finding one in the same condition as this Eldorado is beyond my budget for a weekend toy. Therefore, I enter into Eldorado ownership with some trepidation, as the ’73 I believe was the first to have the crude emissions controls and the same de-tuned 8.2L engine as the ’72. So I ask you what problems can I expect with this car that I might not encounter with the rear wheel drive’68 DeVile? Any advice on how I can hedge my bets so this turn key car doesn’t wind up being the project car I hoped to avoid would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Frank
>> the convertible Series 62 had been dropped after 1969 and the convertible De Ville after 1970
The last Series 62 convertibles were 1963 models; from 1964 to 1970, RWD Cadillac convertibles were all DeVilles or Eldorados. Final model year for the Series 62 designation was 1964; it was replaced by Calais in 1965.
You’re right, and I’ve amended the text accordingly. Thanks for the correction!
I have a 76 Eldorado convertible w/ e.f.i. and am unable to find the number produced with injection. Can anyone steer me in the right direction or have the nos.? thank you
Unfortunately, I don’t have a breakdown of how many cars had the injected engine, although it was pretty rare. An old thread on the Cadillac and LaSalle Club discussion forum claimed (based on information from a former Bendix engineer) that there were only 1,000 injected 500 cu. in. engines in total, spread over all 1975–76 Cadillac production. How authoritative that is I don’t claim to know, although I’ve seen that figure repeated a number of times online.